The principal yachting port is Marsamxett Harbour on the north side of Valletta. Within the harbour there are yacht berths in Msida Marina and on both the north and south sides of Lazaretto Creek.
Marsamxett Harbour is open to the north-east and strong winds from this direction, known locally as a gregale, send a swell rolling in through the entrance. The berths in Msida Marina are reasonably well protected but those in Lazaretto Creek can be badly affected and a yacht moored there should not be left unattended while a gregale is blowing.
All the berths in Msida Marina and Lazaretto Creek are administered by the ‘Malta Maritime Authority’. Their offices, known as the ‘Yachting Centre’, are situated on Msida Point at the entrance to Msida Marina. Berths are allocated as they become available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. They cannot be booked in advance either personally or through an agent. However, the staff are very helpful and a berth can usually be found somewhere.
Malta Maritime Authority does not provide pick-up lines in Lazaretto Creek though some berths do have lines left behind by previous occupants. If staying for a few weeks or longer many yachtsmen employ a diver to attach a line to the heavy ground-chain that runs parallel with the shore. Those not doing so lie to their own anchor.
There is a small marina at Mgarr on the island of Gozo and an interesting harbour at Marsaxlokk in the south of Malta. A new, very small marina was under construction in 2000 in St Julian’s Bay as part of the huge expansion of the Hilton Hotel. A new marina is proposed in Grand Harbour but, to the best of my knowledge, is not yet under construction.
Extensive facilities for laying up ashore are available on Manoel Island. The principal facility, ‘Manoel Island Yacht Yard’, is very popular and advance booking is recommended.
Malta is an excellent place to overwinter. It is a long way south so the winter weather is good, there are both scheduled & charter flights and, best of all, everyone speaks English.